KOCHI: Over the past few weeks, local residents in Kakkanad have been facing distress due to an insect that is yet to be identified by experts. On the basis of accounts from victims, doctors and entomology experts believe that the insect could well be Rove beetles and Blister beetles.
“People are panic stricken and seek medical help fearing that it could be a case of black fungus,” said Joseph Chalissery, dermatologist at Cooperative Hospital, Kakkanad. He said that there is no need to run scared of this insect and that the blisters are due to toxic venom present in the body of the beetle.
“In three weeks, around 60-70 people must have sought medical help. There is no reason to be scared. Antibiotic cream and oral antibodies are prescribed for the skin condition,” he said. Vijaykumar Blathur, a science writer, said that the beetle belongs to Staphylinidae family. “It has a chemical substance called cantharidin, which can cause blisters on human skin. These are small insects of around 8mm in height and 1.2 to 2 mm in width,” he said.